I don't want to become a church member because ...
Happy Wednesday Bay Gospel!
When I consider the message spoken this past Sunday by Pastor Daniel regarding church membership, I'm quick to think about a handful of reasons why I do not want to join. Pastor gave a lot of good reasons why it is important to become a member of a local church, but what about my reasons not to join?
- What if I don't agree with everything the church believes?
- What if I do something that goes against the church?
- Church membership sounds like a huge commitment and responsibility. Why would I want more of that?
Perhaps my reasons are similar or differ from yours. Regardless, these are great questions to be thinking and praying about. No church that is serious about church membership would want you to jump into becoming a member with so many doubts and questions. It is good for us to think through these things before making a covenant with the church. For me, I've found that many of these reasons are simply excuses for not wanting to join.
- If I don't agree with something, talk it out with the pastors. They would be more than happy to talk things out with me. Regardless of who is wrong, we should be searching for truth together.
- If I do something that goes against the church, that is exactly what the membership is for. When I'm in covenant with the church, if I mess up, I have confidence knowing that my brothers and sisters won't just let me go down the drain, but with tenacity, point me back towards towards Christ.
- Yes, church membership is a commitment and responsibility. But why am I viewing this as a bad thing? God is so fully committed to us because He loves us perfectly. How could we not strive to do the same for Him and, in obedience, love each other as one body?
For me, the bottom line is that I do not like being tied down by church because my sinful nature would much rather be able to opt out whenever I want. The idea of church membership scares me because it comes with church discipline (which we're talking about this upcoming Sunday). And the reality is, I have a hard time submitting to church membership because it is another way I must surrender my life to God.
Brothers and sisters, it is one thing to deeply consider the beliefs, proclamations, and practices of a local church before joining one. But after that is done, I should be talking to the pastors either inquiring about certain questions/concerns I have or inquiring about how to become a member. If I do not, the reality is that I am dealing with a sin issue of disobedience.
Perhaps you agree with me and maybe you don't. Regardless, do not simply hold onto your reasons of not joining a church. Voice them. We, as Bay Gospel, would love to walk you through these. The passage that comes to mind when considering church membership is from Mark 2 in which Jesus calls Levi, the tax collectors, and eats with him and a table full of sinners. It is there that we see the Pharisees and the teachers of the law judge Jesus for His actions. But Jesus replies by says, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I come not to call the righteous, but sinners" (vs 17). Praise God.
Let's be reminded that church membership is not a ticket into heaven, nor is it a symbol that we are perfect people. Rather, it is the exact opposite. With church membership, we humbly recognize that we are in need of a savior. With church membership, we humbly recognize that we cannot live the perfect life alone. With church membership, we humbly recognize that we are the sick and sinful. But also with church membership, we are joyful in knowing that we walk alongside other sick and sinful people who have promised us to point us towards Christ with every step we take in this life.
Jesus Calls Levi
13 He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. 14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
15 And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 And the scribes of[a] the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples,“Why does he eat[b] with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:13-17